No-fault divorce headlines again

Posted by Rachel Giles on
Few can fail to have noticed the drive for no-fault divorce in recent months. Much of this has been led by Resolution, in their campaign and also through their involvement in the Owens case.

The Justice Secretary has now noted that the current regime does not keep marriages together; rather it leads to a weaker and poorer relationship moving forward than would otherwise be the case. He also noted that hostility and conflict can leave a mark on children when marriages break down, which he cites as another reason for his decision to "end this unnecessary blame game for good".

We have previously written about the need for no-fault divorce. This article discussed the requirement for blame in the current law, and the disadvantages to this. Couples are required to rely on the fault of one party to obtain a divorce. Not only does this lead to exaggeration or perhaps even untruths in some cases, it can also lead to increased acrimony in already difficult proceedings.

No-fault divorce will remove the requirement to apportion blame, and instead will focus on the irretrievable breakdown of marriage. There will be no scope for a spouse to refuse divorce, but also an option for couples to apply together. It is thought that this will allow couples more options to discuss matters between them, and lead to a more conciliatory approach by both parties.

No-fault divorce will be welcomed by most as a positive step towards making divorce fit for purpose in the modern age. It is also important to remember that it is often not the divorce itself that is the difficult and complicated part, but any children or financial issues arising from the divorce. It is therefore hoped that by removing the potential for arguments about the divorce itself, these issues will be resolvable more swiftly and with less hostility.

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Rachel is a Senior Solicitor in the Family team and is based in the Southampton office.

Rachel Giles
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